Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Around the NFL, Week 17

Steelers 27, Panthers 3
Well, I'm not exactly sure what the schedule-makers were expecting from a prime-time game featuring a Panthers team that only Peter King thought would be any good, but I doubt it was this. Jimmy Clausen is Cade McNown. Every time I watch him play I'm reminded of Cade's prancing footwork, his weak arm, his dead-duck of a deepball, and his cocky attitude and "pro-ready" pedigree. Get bent, Clausen.

Cardinals 27, Cowboys 26
Even in a season chock-full of it, Cowboys fail is amusing. The Cardinals are an interesting team to watch this offseason. Do they attempt to rebuild with either Skelton or a young QB snatched up in the draft, perhaps inviting another season reminiscent of the Young Jake Plummer Era? Or do they go after McNabb or a certain other quarterback who may be available and can CLEARLY lead a team back to glory?

Chiefs 34, Titans 14
Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on making their first playoff appearance since 2006. In a division that features Norv Turner, the Oakland Raiders, and had Josh McDaniels for most of the year, the Chiefs were certainly the least hateable team. Oh, and someone should fire Jeff Fisher like two months ago.

Ravens 20, Browns 10
I feel bad for Eric Mangini, actually. I can't stand the guy, but Holmgren set him up with a no-win situation this year in hopes of jettisoning him in favor of a hand-picked head coach in the offseason and Mangini for most of the year got pretty good effort out of his team, especially froma surprisingly good defense that should get the Browns into the picture next year. I mean how else can you explain signing Jake Delhomme if Holmgren wasn't trying to sabotage the guy?

Patriots 34, Bills 3
Well, yeah.

Rams 25, 49ers 17
Down goes Singletary. I've ranted against Singletary as a coach before and I'm tempted to do it again. As a hall of fame linebacker his credentials as a player are beyond debate, but as a coach he's every bad cliche of what makes a "good" football coach rolled into one. He frequently redasses players on the field, something that may make the frothing meatheads at home crush their Budweisers on their forehead in adulation but really undermines the effort and respect of the team, he jerks around quarterbacks at the first sign of trouble (something that plagued his mentor Ditka as well) and prevents any sort of offensive consistency, and he preaches accountability and personal responsibility while clearly shuffling blame onto the players every time he picks one out to go after on the sidelines or at the podium after the game. For every jackass that I heard arguing for throwing Lovie overboard last year and "getting a guy who "gets it"" like Singletary, I hope you've learned something from this. For every Ditka who comes along and wins with Buddy Ryan's defense and screams his way to one Superbowl, or for every Bill Cowher scowling on the sidelines, there's petulant assholes like Josh McDaniels and screaming lunatics like Singletary who preach about teamwork and discipline while practicing little of either for themselves.

Oh, and who else is pumped as hell for the Sunday night play-in game between the Rams and the Seahawks? I mean, I think the Rams are the better team and should win that division, but aren't we all, at least deep down, hoping for a Seahawks victory and a 7-9 playoff team?

Lions 34, Dolphins 27
The Lions are on a nice little run. The Dolphins probably shouldn't fire Sparano yet, as his mistake was winning 11 games his first year and masking a lot of the organizational issues that still plague a team that was largely harvested of any kind of young and promising talent during the Wannstedt/Saban/Cameron years of 2001-2007. The results he's achieved the last couple years are more indicative of where this team's talent is. Sparano should get one more year but that should be contingent on him recognizing a lost cause and throwing Chad Henne overboard. Chad Henne is who he was at Michigan, a talented pocket passer who often makes poor decisions and isn't consistently accurate. Two years as a starter used to be a small window, but nowadays that's all you're going to get, and the fact that Henne right now is exactly where he was a year ago is a bad sign.

Redskins 20, Jaguars 17
While Rex naturally followed up his four TD outburst against Dallas with a game in which he failed to complete 50% of his passes and had a passer rating of 60.0, he may still be in position to secure at least a temporary starting job for the Redskins in 2011. And you all know you want that. Also, congratulations to the Jacksonville Jaguars on being the Jacksonville Jaguars. There was a brief window this season where you weren't the Jaguars, but it's good to see you return to your roots and fail to truly even threaten the Indianapolis Colts.

Broncos 24, Texans 23
Tebow played well. That is naturally contingent of course on the fact that the Texans have, statistically, the worst pass defense in the history of the NFL and are nearing the end of an epic collapse, but oh well. Credit where it's due, I suppose. I look forward to the Chargers stomping him out in the last game and seeing what the next Broncos coach chooses to do with a player who is still a very big project.

Colts 31, Raiders 26
Thank you, Indy. For the seventh straight year, the Raiders will not accomplish a winning season.

Bengals 34, Chargers 20
The Chargers really learned the hard way this year that taking the first two months off every year may eventually come back to bite you on the ass. But hey, at least their owner says Norv Turner is safe. That's what you wanted to hear, isn't it, Chargers Fan?

Buccaneers 38, Seahawks 15
Good win by the Bucs, who I really wish hadn't lost to the Lions last week. If they'd pulled that off they'd have Green Bay backed up against the wall big time. Alas, they must upset the Saints in New Orleans this weekend and have the Bears beat Green Bay in order to keep the Pack out of the playoffs. Make it so. Oh, and here is your reminder that the Seahawks can make the playoffs despite being outscored by their opponents by 104 points this year.

Packers 45, Giants 17
Man, the Giants have just quit. Aaron Rodgers was absolutely outstanding, but the six turnovers were just inexplicable. If the Giants can pull it together to beat the Redskins they still have a shot as they have the tiebreaker with the Buccaneers in the event of a Bucs win over the Saints, but they obviously lose the tiebreaker to the Packers.

Saints 17, Falcons 14
I love Drew Brees and I'm beating a dead horse but if Jay Cutler had thrown that ridiculous underhanded pick six that Brees "threw" to give the Falcons a fourth quarter lead in a huge late-season divisional game, he'd be absolutely freaking crucified. I don't care if he threw four touchdown passes in the rest of the game, that interception would be plastered all over the Earth. But what do they say about Drew Brees? It's good because he can shake off his interceptions. Jesus.

Vikings 24, Eagles 14
I watched the entire second half of this game, and I still have no idea how it happened. The Eagles shitty defense failed them once again and Michael Vick was unable to single-handedly save them. Why people haven't brought up the Eagles' glaring deficiency on that side of the ball, I don't know, but I'm curious as to why, in a season where the Bears offensive woes (which have been mostly cured since the bye) have them marked as a Fraud by all of the Les Carpenters of the world, the Eagles defense isn't also singled out as a unit that could cripple a playoff run. They're allowing over 24 ppg on defense and have allowed teams like the Lions, Titans, Redskins, Cowboys, and Joe Webb-led Vikings to put up 32, 39, 28, 27, and 24 points respectively. Thank you, Joe Webb, for giving the Bears a first round bye the easy way. I still hope the Bears take care of business and keep the Packers out of the postseason, but I appreciate the room for error.